Are Your Horses Protective Boots Backed by Scientific Evidence?

ARE YOUR HORSES PROTECTIVE BOOTS BACKED BY SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE?

 
Having studied Equine Studies at University, scientific evidence is obviously an important indicator of the validity of a product to me (however not the only one).   After many years eventing and never having a tendon injury, my dressage diva mare tore her Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon in the paddock.  She underwent Stem Cell Therapy and rehabilitation that enabled her to be back in work in a greatly reduced time frame.   Feeling extremely lucky with the outcome I did extensive investigation into the most appropriate leg protection for her once she was back in work.
Tendon injury is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in performance horses, with the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) in the forelimb being the most prone to injury (Ely, et al. 2004).  Without bombarding you with too much scientific babble, a horses tendons heat up with work (especially hard and fast work).  The internal structures of the horses’ leg can be compromised with repeated elevations in temperature of the tendons and the associated fibres.  This is exactly what we are doing to our horses when we work them every day in protective boots and bandages that don’t allow heat to escape.
Horse-Protective-Boots
 
It is generally acknowledged that many protective boots and bandages insulate the horses’ leg during exercise which prevents heat loss and may lead to elevated temperatures.  It is this fact that led me to seek out and source the products developed by the team at  http://www.thehusk.co.uk.  I desperately wanted my mare to stay sound and would have done anything to ensure this happened (and it has).
The team at The HUSK has undertaken significant independent scientific research to ensure that their protective boots are thermoregulating and allow the leg breathe and not overheat.  These are the results of one study:
  • The study was undertaken at an ambient air temperature of 8 degrees C.
  • Peripheral temperatures with NO leg protection were between 12.6 and 13.1 degrees C.
  • Once boots were applied the temperature was taken immediately after. Temperatures then ranged from between 9.3 and 10.6 degrees C prior to exercise.
  • Post exercise temperatures ranged between 9.1 and 8.6 degrees with HUSK boots on.
  • Thirty minutes post exercise with the horse being rested in a stable, the temperature ranged from 8.2 to 8.5 degrees C.
  • Once the boots were removed the temperature increased gradually to 10.4 degrees.
 
This study shows that the boots did not increase the temperature of the horses’ legs, and in fact suggests they could support the cooling of the leg because of access to airflow.  This airflow is possibly due to the porosity of the fabric HUSK boots are made of.  The HUSK boot allows the legs access to their natural environment (as if they didn’t have boots on), therefore the legs remain at normal temperatures even when being exercised.
 
If you are interested in reading more about this testing please read:
https://thehusk.co.uk/blogs/news/thermal-imaging-test-results-for-husk-1
 
If your scientific brain is so inclined, you can read a detailed study on the effects of boots and bandages on forelimb temperatures during exercise here:  (Well worth a read).
http://southdownsvetphysio.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Effect-of-Equine-Exercise-Bandages-on-Distal-Limb-Temperatures-During-Exercise.pdf
 
It is vitally important that you consider how breathable your horses’ leg protection is, otherwise you risk creating an injury whilst trying to prevent one.  Despite extensive research I have been unable to find anything that stacks up to HUSK products and the results of their research.  Now ask yourself “how does my horses’ leg protection stack up”?

OVER TO YOU:

 
If you require any further information on protecting your horses legs during exercise please email us at info@proactiveanimalhealth.com.au, visit our website at www.proactiveanimalhealth.com.au or ph: 0418179326

 

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